theSLRtour: The alternator recall
*Contains important information for current SLR owners
theSLRtour was an absolute success. We put over 4000km on “the world’s most famous McLaren SLR” in 8 days. We successfully arrived in Monaco, which was the finish line before the finish line. The SLR faced various weather conditions throughout the tour, which it handled perfectly. It’s not like we had questions about its capabilities, but seeing it in action left us truly impressed. And thanks to this tour, I got to know the car better and I can now clearly see it for what it is - it’s a grand tourer with hypercar capabilities. As some of you already know, on the way back, just 10 km from the Bulgarian border, the SLR suffered an alternator failure. The alternator was replaced just a few months prior to the tour, so this got us thinking that the alternator was a symptom rather than the cause. Which made us anxious that something might be very wrong with “Paris”, so, the investigation began. Our very first theory was “short-circuiting”, which quickly proved to be wrong.
As we began a deeper research, we discovered that there was an alternator-related recall in June 2006. "Recall Campaign 2006060003"
It states: “Model 199, Model year 2005-2006: Replace alternator and CL control module; Install heat shield on new alternator”.
It goes: "...under hard operating conditions, the engine compartment temperature can increase to a level which exceeds the design parameters for the alternator and creates the potential for an engine compartment fire. A damaged alternator can not assure sufficient voltage to supply the vehicle electrical system. If this condition occurs the driver will first be informed of alternator damage by the instrument cluster multifunction displays indicating the shut down of some vehicle comfort features such as A/C, radio, etc. If voltage drops further, the multifunction display will indicate "Battery /Alternator Stop Vehicle". In that case the driver should shut of the vehicle and contact an authorised Mercedes- Benz dealer and have the vehicle towed in for repair." This was exactly what we experienced. Thankfully, without the "fire" part.
Which means that the SLR is "faulty" by design. The high temperatures are as a result of the entire exhaust system being under the hood, as well as the underbody of the car being completely enclosed. So, Daimler offered a solution - a new alternator, new CL module and a new heat shield, which resulted in the "Recall Campaign 2006060003".
According to the official data, it affected approximately 433 SLRs, including "Paris" From chassis number: M000018 to chassis number: M001168
But It turned out that...
The recall was done on “Paris” … partially.
One of the power management modules - the CL control module - was not replaced. Someone just wrote "old" on it and put the car back together. It could be laziness, negligence or an honest mistake. But it was there, the “old” CL module that was supposed to be replaced in 2006!
Fast forward to today, the CL module is now replaced and this was almost certainly the reason for the rather often alternator issues on “Paris”. I’ll keep you up to date, if any new information comes to light. A proper testing will be done as soon as the weather gets better.
I advise every SLR owner to check whether the recall has been done on their SLR and hopefully it was done properly. I'm attaching the official Recall campaign documents, which are available for download at any time.